The one creation account in Genesis has the Living one Creating in “seven days;” however, the seventh day is unlike any other frenzied day of creation. The living one saw that everything that had been created was good and the Living One rested on the seventh day which came to be known as the Sabbath. The Decalogue of sacred laws given to Moses included, “Keep holy the Sabbath Day.” Sabbath along with kosher dietary practices (which I just found out recently forbade the meat of certain animals and shellfish) and circumcision for males were the distinctive practices that set Judaism apart from the religions of their neighbors.
Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World: The Geography of Faith is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. She is such a talented writer. The chapter on Sabbath got my attention. Sabbath is very much needed in our busy, commodified, consumerist world where all our worth comes from doing stuff. Sabbath is a time to step out of the rat race and marinade in the things of the Living One. Sabbath is but one day of the week. Sabbath is time for all creation to rest. We should start making it holy once again. We should also create other periods and places during the week where we take time to rest in the Living One. Just being present to the Presence creates Sabbath.
It is hard to be counter-cultural, to be different from the alienated masses that scurry hither and yon for power, prestige, and possessions, but do it we must if we are to live our lives focused on the Living One. Start small. Maybe you can start as I have by not shopping on Sunday. Wow, how countercultural! Another thing I plan to do is to continue to create Sabbath by attending the soaking prayer service. Soaking prayer is an oasis of Sabbath rest and peace. Sitting silently and marinating in God’s love is Sabbath. Nothing more is needed.
I conclude with a prayer Barbara Brown Taylor cited in her book:
Our noisy day has now descended with the sun beyond our sight.
In the silence of our praying place we close the door upon the hectic joys and fears, the accomplishments and anguish of the week we have left behind.
What was but moments ago the substance of our life has become a memory; what we did must now be woven into what we are.
On this day we shall not do, but be.
We are to walk the path of our humanity, no longer ride unseeing through a world we do not touch and only vaguely sense.
No longer can we tear the world apart to make our fire.
On this day heat and warmth and light must come from deep within ourselves.” (Gates of Prayer, New Union Prayer Book, “Welcome Sabbath)